This class gave me a much wider perspective on what autism looks like and eroded most assumptions I had about people on the spectrum... I realized how the materials/strategies learned in this class for addressing children on the spectrum are applicable and can be tailored to meet any child in a class.
Since meeting her as my child’s Kindergarten teacher, I have followed Kate Friedman’s career as a master designer of learning experiences who always has the best interests of the child at heart. I continue to seek her expertise to learn what are the most important components we need today to best prepare kids for the future.
Kate captured the attention of 30 eighth graders with her clear and engaging presentation about her time as Project Director of Sadhana Forest in India. She created a vivid picture of 20th century India and the efforts of her NGO to bring the rain forests back to southern India.
Kate is, simply put, a powerhouse. She’s one of the most organized, energetic, proactive and sharp colleagues I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I count on her a great deal on a wide scope of programs and initiatives, but can always rely on her ability to frame all efforts around her dedication to our mission and with the goals of team-building and efficient collaboration.
One thing that stays with me are the notes that Prof. Friedman took about her own content as we had class. After viewing a few videos of women with autism Prof. Friedman noted, out loud, that she had not included any male perspectives. She apologized and we moved on. This was something I would never have noticed if Kate hadn’t been so transparent. I think it was a wonderful way to show us as students where improvements in inclusion can be made by even the most inclusive professor.
Our family was extremely fortunate to have Kate be our son’s kindergarten teacher. Her patience, deep understanding and ability to learn from him what he required to enjoy the classroom has never left us and made all the difference during such an important transition time in our lives. Kate stood out as a teacher in the classroom, and as a mentor who even came to see my son’s piano recital just because she wanted to do so! We still look forward to catching up with Kate and other friends at the annual picnic she works to organize to bring a community of former students together. Kate is a unique educator who really gets it and who truly cares!
I think the diverse range of perspectives introduced was what spoke the most to me on the issues of advocacy and social justice... [Kate] being open about controversies and her own biases, humanized all of our discussions.
Kate’s presentation on her time in India was fascinating. My fifth graders were enthralled. Most powerfully, it showed them that travel can lead us not just to experience foreign places and customs but to think differently about our own.